Hi, I’m leaving for the Philippines for a month starting in August. First stop: Palawan Island and then ??? I’ve never been there and don’t really know what to expect. Anybody who’s been anywhere in the Philippines, and has some stories or info they would like to share would be much appreciated. Stuff like weather, food, crime, languages, people, great places to visit, cool things to do…


Of course lots of people will recommend Boracay, which is a great choice for fabulous beaches. But in my opinion, the mountains of Luzon was one of the nicest holidays I ever had.

Nestled in the Mountain Province, is a village called Sagada. It is populated by Philippine aboriginals who’re quite separatist from the rest of the country due to the fact that the village, and those nearby, are relatively isolated because the mountain roads aren’t that easily travelled. (Much higher than you’d imagine)
Sagada is surrounded by caves, some of them burial caves, some that need guides to enter, there are plenty of great hiking excursions to nearby even more traditional villages, deep ravines, rice terraces, and a leisurely mountain atmosphere. When I was there in 99, they didn’t have phones in the village yet!

The food is incomparable to other parts of the PPines that I’ve visited. If youre a veggie, it’s especially great, as most of what’s served there is freshly grown in that area. There’s also a cafe that makes the best yogurt this side of Greece and you can have it with fresh mountain berries and honey.

There’s a curfew on the town, last I heard, from 9pm, but after a full day of hiking and ‘smoking’ and eating delicious fresh meals, you won’t mind. You wake with the chickens at 7am…

It’s amazingly cheap there as well. Prepare to spend far less than 200NT per day including your guest house. Btw, the guest houses are clean and cozy. When I was there, a room with my friend cost 80 per night.

To get there: Take a bus from Manila to Banaue (also a lovely place, but don’t waste as much time there because it’s touristy due to the 2000 year old rice paddies etc, but it’s nothing compared to Sagada. However, you CAN purchase lovely wood carvings there…

From Banaue, take a jeepney to Bontoc, and from Bontoc, another jeepney to Sagada. The jeepneys total about 3-4 hours travel from Banaue–>Sagada. Manila to Banaue–>11 hours, or so, depending on traffic conditions.
You could return from Sagada by going from there to Baguio by bus (8 hours over treacherous mountain road with incredibly breathtaking views), and then Baguio to Manila (10 or so hours).
Sagada’s not an easy place to get to, but if you have a month, don’t miss it.

I love Philippines best of anywhere in SE Asia because it’s so full of variety. It’s a fantastic country with fantastic people and you can speak English there, too, which makes it easier for travel. It’s well underrated, the ppines. I reckon the rebel kidnappings and political instability have threatened its tourism industry, but I don’t mind not having to deal with scads of Euros while navigating around. Of course, they’re still around, but not in droves and droves like other parts of the region, and the ones you meet in those areas of the ppines are intrepid and pleasant enough. But not as lovely as the Filipinos.
I can recommend a really nice hotel in Manila, too, if you want. It has only five or six rooms, is done up in antiques, has a POOL!, and is an old mansion house behind a wall, so it’s like a little oasis in Manila. Last summer, rooms were 500nt or so. Besides, it’s right up the way from where all the ‘uninformed’ travellers go, Adriatico. The name used to be True Home, but it’s changed recently. I have the business card at home and will post the phone number later.

I don’t know if you’re American, but I was just watching the news and they showed a clip of a large number of Filipinos burning a big model of a spider with the head of what I think is President Bush, and the body was painted in stars and stripes. I guess they were trying to express some sentiment about Americans?

I loved Boracay but hated Manila, felt unsafe and was constantly bothered by people which offered all kinds of services.
As well it’s better not to walk around alone at night. A friend of mine was robbed when hiring a carriage (drawn by horses) - by the driver and his fellows when he “kidnapped” him into some backlanes.

The Phillipines are expensive, too, accomodation especially.
Expect that you have to pay porters when you e.g. travel to Boracay (plane to car, car to beach, beach to boat, …) - or carry your stuff yourself though they are usually quicker.

Hey thanx Alien, I have 2 weeks on Palawan Island, and then ??? Sagada sounds cool. I printed out your response. Thanks again.

Hey Picasso,
Let me know if Sagada has changed much. I keep meaning to get back there…fuckin amazing place.

The hotel I mentioned in Manila: True Home (name changed to something like gardenia or something) but phone number still same.
Ask to speak to Jupiter, he was still there last summer. The owner, la contessa, Irma Hernandez, is actually a Puerta Rican American princess (i think), she also has a place on Boracay.

Address: 2139 Adriatico, in Malate

If you’re looking to party the PI is the place to be! Lots of cheap things there. The biggest advantage is that the girls speak English. Manila is pretty shitty and dangerous but you can pick up lots of honeykos easy there just cruise the malls. Angeles is the place to be only 1000 pesos for the time of your life, wall to wall bars loaded with beautiful girls. The provinces are nice especially the beaches and mountains but not much action in the nightlife so bring a special friend.

<a href=""target=new>Here is a good message board with lots of info, ask these guys about good places to go because this is where most of the expats in the Philippines hang out, it’s kind of like their version of our Oriented board

The Philippines is a beautiful country and the most beautiful thing is the Filipinas, and they are easy to pick up beyond belief, that is what most of us guys are going there for! It is paradise if you are a non-Filipino and single, you’ll have so much fun you won’t be able to sleep at night you’ll be too busy LOL! Just watch out for those billyboys they are crafty but the adams apple is a dead give away.

That is a farking sick, sick site for old, fat, foreign pedophiles to exchange information about which bars have the youngest girls, etc.

Sad. However, I think I’ve spiced up their lives a bit, since I registered yesterday and have started seeding their old fart message boards with topics such as: “I’ve recently been diagnosed with HIV, which I think I might have caught in the **** bar. How long before I should start using condoms when I’m with my barfine?”

Travelling tips.

When travelling from the international airport to the domestic airport – remember to take a coupon taxi (ex. Avis, Nissan, Qualitrans, etc.).

This way you won’t get ripped off. It won’t be as cheap as an regular taxi with an honest driver (yes, those gems are still out there in the Philippine capital, but finding one at the airport will be very difficult) but at least this way you can be sure of how much the trip will cost.

And just a reminder: Metro Manila is not representative of the rest of the Philippines. In many ways its actually better outside – especially in terms of cost and overall liveability.

Friends of mine (who’ve never been to East Asia) will fly to the Philippines this week with their two 9 and 7-year old kids. Anything they should pay special attention to?

My friend has been told that adults shouldn’t wear spaghetti tops and shorts, not even in Manila. I’ve never been to the Philippines. But having been to a lot of other East Asian city, this sounds a bit out-dated to me. Can anyody here confirm that?


Um, where did they get this information? Ridiculous!

[quote=“fredericka bimmel”][quote=“iris”]My friend has been told that adults shouldn’t wear spaghetti tops and shorts, not even in Manila.
[/quote]Um, where did they get this information? Ridiculous!
Yeah, I agree, I’m an adult and I’ve never had any problems wearing spaghetti tops around Manila. Though the other guys at the gym have started teasing me after it left a rather unattractive tan line on my pecs. :laughing: